Joao Neves in, Gallagher decision, Mainoo partner - Man United dream midfield with £140m move

Joao Neves
-Credit: (Image: Jose Manuel Alvarez Rey)

The merry-go-round that is Manchester United's transfer rumour mill continues to rumble on with nearly a new name linked with a move to Old Trafford every day.

On Thursday, Lille striker Jonathan David was a fresh name thrown into the mix as a potential new No.9. On Friday, Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher emerged as a candidate to strengthen Erik ten Hag's midfield.

Anyone that watched United last season quickly realised that they considerably lack a consistent midfield trio throughout. Bruno Fernandes and then Kobbie Mainoo both became consistent names in the middle of the park but there was also something missing.

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Scott McTominay, Christian Eriksen and Casemiro did the job when needed but there always seemed to be a lack of world class quality. The task on the club's newly constructed hierarchy's hands is recruiting that quality ahead of next season.

FFP complicates things for United, like it does for many teams in the Premier League, but there is a list of candidates that present a realistic and affordable opportunity. Gallagher, an England international, could be available for just £42m. However, constant links to Joao Neves do counter the Red Devils' required cleverness in the market.

The Benfica star has a reported €120m (£101.5m) release clause in his contract in Portugal but suggestions in Europe have claimed he could be available for lower than €100m (£84.5m). Even then, that would make him United's second most expensive arrival.

It's a predicament and will be no easy ask to get the right combination in midfield. But what would Ten Hag's dream midfield trio look like for the first game of the season against Fulham in August?

Here, MEN Sport takes a look...

Joao Neves

United and Portuguese wonderkids have a history of working out. Neves seems to be the number one target for United and when watching him play, it's obvious why. 88.5% pass completion rate last season with 56 passes leading to a shot, for a player who sits deep, is impressive.

Unsurprisingly, Paris Saint-Germain are keeping tabs on his situation and after freeing up millions on Kylian Mbappe's wages, there's no doubt that they can afford him. However, the player's choice matters and the chance to follow in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo could be tempting for Neves.

Benfica are understandably going to do their very best to keep hold of their midfield man. At 19, he has the world at his feet and he isn't expected to stay at Benfica for much longer. His addition would fit in nicely with the man to follow him on this list.

Kobbie Mainoo

United's own academy product has been a trending topic over the last 24 hours for being kept on the bench for England, but that's a conversation for another day. Mainoo, 19, has the potential to be a first-team regular for years to come with him so mature and clever in his defensive work.

Something Ten Hag's side really lacked last year was a solid base with two midfielders sat in front of the defenders.

Kobbie Mainoo and Conor Gallagher
Kobbie Mainoo and Conor Gallagher could form Man United's midfield next season -Credit:ALBERTO PIZZOLI

Conor Gallagher

This one is more of an alternative to Neves. A slightly different profile in midfield but someone who would improve Ten Hag's options. Gallagher has proved to be a quality Premier League player over the last two seasons but Chelsea's own FFP concerns mean he's in the shop window.

A more box-to-box midfielder, the England international could be the missing piece for United. Of course, a pivot of Mainoo and Neves sounds unbelievable but having a 'water-carrier' there who can do the defensive and offensive side of things rather well was often missing in certain games.

Coming in as a homegrown player for just £42m, Gallagher's signature is highly-contested and United could certainly do worse.

Bruno Fernandes

Despite criticism and speculation of him potentially leaving the club, Fernandes will once again play a crucial part for United and Ten Hag next season. Since moving from Sporting CP, he has scored 79 goals and 66 assists in 233 games. That is a decent return.

Question marks over his commitment to the club should not carry over to next season. Fernandes recently spoke about being proud to represent the club and he will have another season to prove his status as world-class as United's attacking midfielder.

Man United's dream midfield next season: Kobbie Mainoo, Joao Neves/Conor Gallagher, Bruno Fernandes.